RNA degradation in antiviral immunity and autoimmunity
Rigby RE., Rehwinkel J.
© 2015 The Authors. Post-transcriptional control determines the fate of cellular RNA molecules. Nonsense-mediated decay (NMD) provides quality control of mRNA, targeting faulty cellular transcripts for degradation by multiple nucleases including the RNA exosome. Recent findings have revealed a role for NMD in targeting viral RNA molecules, thereby restricting virus infection. Interestingly, NMD is also linked to immune responses at another level: mutations affecting the NMD or RNA exosome machineries cause chronic activation of defence programmes, resulting in autoimmune phenotypes. Here we place these observations in the context of other links between innate antiviral immunity and type I interferon mediated disease and examine two models: one in which expression or function of pathogen sensors is perturbed and one wherein host-derived RNA molecules with a propensity to activate such sensors accumulate.